But I never really explored the story behind how they got their latest singer, Arnel Pineda, until the band recently appeared on CBS News Sunday Morning and a couple of friends said I HAD to check this guy out.
So I YouTubed. And I gotta say - WOW. Not only can this dude sing, he seems to be a very genuine individual with a powerful story.
I will leave the details to CBS News Sunday Morning but the short version is that guitarist Neil Schon stumbled onto Arnel by looking for undiscovered singers on YouTube and found Arnel's cover band The Zoo doing various tunes, including some of the very hard to sing Journey catalog.
One plane ticket from the Philippines later to audition and the band is back in business. And aside from having the pipes, Arnel seems to be a genuine and humble guy as well. Note that in the CBS interview, keyboard player Jon Cain says something to the effect that Arnel is such a good guy that it makes him want to be a better person. Wow - coming from an a-hole like Cain, that is amazing.
Makes me almost WANT Journey to make a comeback and be successful again. And apparently it might be happening. According to an article on Blabbermouth today, the band's Wal-Mart only CD "Revelation" is "poised to sell around 80,000 copies in the United States during its first week of release for a likely Top 10 (possibly Top 5) debut on The Billboard 200 chart."
Revelation is a double disc, with batch of old Journey songs re-done with Arnel on vocals, and a new album's worth of material that producer Kevin Shirley (who also produced the last ten years' worth of Iron Maiden albums) has been raving about for months on his Web site.
Argh - yes, I may have to make a trip to Wal Mart.
Below are two YouTubes - the first is the CBS News piece. The second is one of the videos Neil Schon must have seen. After watching this guy sing his freaking heart out to an empty room (you even see someone wiping down tables in front of the stage at one point), you gotta root for this guy. He's going from literally nothing to the opportunity of a few lifetimes. he is the ultimate underdog, which makes me want to root for him.